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Students get free dental care, brushing tips

Students get free dental care, brushing tips
West L.A. College dental hygiene students Tirsit Belew, left, and Leanne Wright, right, show Joaquin Miller Elementary School students Catherine Mkrtchyan, left, and Anthony Sanchez, right, how to properly brush their teeth during the Kids' Community Dental Clinic at the Burbank school on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The free Give Kids A Smile event provided free dental check up for all the school's students. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Hundreds of students at Joaquin Miller Elementary received free dental care and tips recently through the Burbank-based Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, which provides free care to children at up to 60 schools each year.

About 30% of the kids the clinic serves need substantial dental work due to them having deep cavities.

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“California is one of the worst states in the country for oral health and children,” said Executive Director Dale Gorman.

In many cases, when students do need fillings, the clinic will take care of the job at no cost to the kids, who are typically from low-income families and may be uninsured.

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On Thursday, hundreds of students visited Miller’s auditorium where volunteer dentists and dental hygiene students from West Los Angeles College screened students for cavities and gave them brushing tips.

Among them was Burbank dentist Richard Marias, who said the best advice he has for kids’ dental care is for them to brush twice each day for two minutes at a time, floss every day, and visit the dentist twice each year.

Gorman also suggested that students drink lots of water daily and eat healthy food.

“What we can do on an early basis — it’s so much easier for the dentist and the patient to do a little intervention than something that’s big later on,” Marias said. “We want to give these kids life skills that are going to enable them to live a healthy life.”

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